We came to your prom and we loved it! We loved it so much that we decided to give going to church a second chance. We came to your church the next Sunday, but we were surprised that there was nothing for us. We were not welcomed. While we love the prom, we need more than just one night a year.
Unfortunately, we are starting to hear this more and more. But why?
Churches and communities are getting swept up in the excitement of prom experiences that are designed specifically for people affected by disability. This prom phenomenon is sweeping across not only our country but the entire world.
Don’t get me wrong. Proms are great! Churches rolling the red carpet out for their disability community is amazing. These are all the right things to do. Where it can be problematic is when churches decide that the prom is all they are going to do in Disability Ministry.
Proms are a declaration of not only value but also of hope. Hope that there is a possibility of a different reality. Hope that people affected by disability are not only going to be welcomed by the local church but may even be embraced. Hope that there is a place of belonging.
If the red carpet doesn’t exist on Sunday morning families are sent mixed messages. Families do not feel welcomed. Families do not feel special. Families won’t stick.
Proms must lead to something else. What comes after the prom may not be as flashy or exciting, but it can lead to the ultimate win. The ultimate win is connecting families to Jesus. The church when functioning as God intended it is what facilitates that connection.
That is why we have created what we are calling the Next Steps document. Churches often don’t know what to do after the prom. The prom for many is a great first step. This document will walk you through the necessary next steps in getting a formal disability ministry off the ground.
Let me give you a sneak peek into our Next Step document. We have simplified the process into eight easy steps. The steps are below. Check out the document for more details!
- Step One: Church Locator Tool
- Step Two: Identify What You Do
- Step Three: Do What You Do Well
- Step Four: Pray
- Step Five: Go Back To Square One
- Step Six: Get To Know Your Community
- Step Seven: Bless Your Community
- Step Eight: Let Us Help
It is Ryan’s passion to equip and empower churches, organizations, and individuals to reach their disability communities for Jesus. Ryan, Director of Program Development, comes to Ability Ministry with 15+ years of ministry experience. He previously worked at First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio as their full-time Disability Pastor. He also worked as a Church Consultant for Key Ministry. Micah 6:8 and Proverbs 31:8 best describe Ryan’s commitment to life and ministry.